The HCG diet has quickly become a popular medical weight loss program available through telehealth programs. However, even with millions of individuals raving about their results, it’s still best to research any possible side effects or dangers of HCG when used for weight loss.
First, it’s important to understand a few key differences in the variations of HCG used for weight loss, since different forms of HCG can have different side effects.
- HCG Diet Injections
- HCG Diet Drops with REAL HCG hormone (update: As of 2021, this option is no longer available in the US.)
- HCG Diet Drops, Homeopathic (no HCG hormone)
- HCG in other forms; pellets, patches and sprays.
Side Effects of HCG
HCG, or Human chorionic gonadotropin is a pro-hormone that is produced in both men and women. It is produced in large amounts by women during pregnancy. For medical purposes, including weight loss, synthetic HCG is used. It is considered a safe medication even in extremely large doses used for fertility. For weight loss, HCG is used in a minute amount, and is also considered safe.
The Positive Side Effects of the HCG Diet Plan
Numerous studies have shown the benefits of HCG when used for weight loss as extremely positive. These include:
- Markably lower health risks than the obesity HCG is used to treat
- Measurable fat loss
- Muscle retention
- Stable blood sugar
- Reduced risk of breast cancer (See this Fox News Report on hCG reducing chances of breast cancer)
- An improvement in mild food allergy reactions
- Many people have also experienced the following improvements to their health while on the hCG diet: migraines subside, improved metabolism, and increased energy.
Side Effects of HCG Diet Injections Explained
While indeed a natural substance produced in the human body, there is a slight possibility of unwanted side effects when using hCG injections for weight loss. Your doctor will advise you on the potential risks when you begin treatment. Some of these effects may be brought up during your consultation:
- Redness and swelling in the injection area: Usually due to improperly administered injections. Make sure your Doctor has shown you how to correctly perform self injecting if you will be doing this yourself.
- OHSS (Ovarian Hyper stimulation Syndrome) is a side effect when large amounts are used for extended periods of time. This is typically found when HCG is used as a fertility drug rather than weight loss, considering the amount used for weight loss is significantly smaller.
- Headaches: headaches are not uncommon within the first week but usually subside. This is typically caused from the diet (food menu) as opposed to the actual hormone injections however it is important to understand that the hormone system of the body is a delicate one and it can take a few days for the body to adjust. Particularly considering that HCG is a “super hormone” that stimulates the increase of other hormones in the body.
Special consideration for side effects when using HCG diet injections with other medications. Always discuss this with your medical specialist. There are also a number of free drug interaction tools available on the web now: Free Drug Interaction Tool
Side Effects of HCG Diet Drops, Pellets with REAL HCG hormone
While these variations do contain the actual hormone in their formulas (in contrast to homeopathic versions) they have been shown to absorb into the body far less than injections. Therefore the reported side effects are much less, or are more digestion related based on other ingredients. Effects to watch for:
- Indigestion or upset stomach
Consult your prescribing doctor regarding possible side effects for the specific formula you will be taking. If symptoms arise, be sure to address them through a medical professional immediately to avoid serious complications.
Homeopathic HCG Diet Drops, Pellets and Sprays Side Effects
These variations have absolutely no HCG hormone and are considered to have virtually no side effects. They typically consist of water and amino acids along with a preservative. Because there are so many variations of these drops, the individual brands need to be consulted. However, for your convenience, we have found a sample side effect warning from the following homeopathic diet drop company:
Creative Bioscience – HCG 1234 Diet Drops Side Effects: “Lesser side effects during the hCG Diet could possibly include headaches during the transition from Phase 1, Load, to Phase 2, Lose; feeling irritable; or mild water weight gain/swelling.
While it is our experience that these temporary side effects result from not carefully following the hCG Protocol or “cheating” during the diet, we recommend that if a person experiences any of these symptoms during the diet, they contact a physician right away. This article is meant for informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any disease.”
Side Effects of a Typical HCG Diet Menu
Depending on the diet menu your Doctor has supplied, this could be a drastic change to what your normal diet consists of. This change alone can result in uncomfortable side effects ranging from….
Particularly common during the first few weeks of the diet, headaches are not uncommon. This can be for many reasons and is largely found to result from breaking the body’s addiction to sugars, carbs and caffeine. It can also result from the body adjusting to the increased hormone production and metabolism stimulation- an effect of HCG’s chemistry in your body. Aside from taking an over the counter pain medication, this side effect generally passes quickly. Be sure to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration headaches as well.
One main reason for this… Less intake equals less output. Your diet will undoubtedly be less than what you normally take in. The average HCG protocol is also not considered “high fiber” and all too often, dieters will find they can resolve this issue with a mild sugar free fiber option and increased water intake.
Not particularly common, dizziness can be caused from the body adjusting to a lower calorie intake as well as dehydration. Again, this side effect usually resides after a few days on the diet.
- Muscle cramps (particularly leg cramps)
A less common side effect, if not rare, cramping can be caused by low levels of potassium in the body. Countless supplements are available for this however, many HCG diet shakes and supplements will include specifically include this and other important nutrients for added benefits while on the diet.
A rarely reported side effect, rashes can be caused for numerous reasons. Most commonly, this is the result of toxins being released from fat cells and into the body. Occasionally, dieters will find the rash is due to a changed healthcare product they switched to because their original product was not permitted according to their own protocol.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is important to consult with your doctor for guidance. Particularly if any of these symptoms last longer than 10 days. While your doctor will more than likely suggest an over the counter or otherwise simple solution, it is best to rule out any serious reactions.
With a few simple precautions, the HCG diet is considered a safe and effective way to lose weight in a healthy manner.
Side Effects of HCG injections for Weight Loss
While indeed a natural substance produced in the human body, there is a slight possibility of unwanted side effects when using HCG injections for weight loss. Your doctor will advise you on the potential risks when you begin treatment. If you choose to begin the HCG weight loss protocol on your own and see any of the following symptoms stop treatment and call your healthcare provider immediately. Read on to learn some of the possible side effects of HCG.
HCG Side Effect: Ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome
Some women on the HCG diet have developed a side effect known as ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS), especially during the first round of treatment. While OHSS is rare, it can be a life threatening condition, so call your healthcare provider right away if you experience any of the following symptoms: Severe pelvic pain; swelling of the hands or legs; stomach pain and swelling; shortness of breath; weight gain; diarrhea; nausea or vomiting; or urinating less than normal.
HCG Side Effect: Early puberty in young boys
Another potential side effect of HCG injections for weight loss is the cause of early puberty when used to treat young boys. So call your doctor if you see any of the following symptoms of early puberty: Deepened voice; pubic hair growth; increased acne; and increased sweating.
HCG Side Effect: Multiple Births in Pregnancy
Using HCG may increase a woman’s chances of having a multiple birth (twins, triplets, quadruplets, etc). A multiple pregnancy can be a high risk pregnancy for both mother and child, so consult your doctor for instructions if you are pregnant or may become pregnant.
HCG Side Effect: Common side effects of hCG injections for weight loss.
Other less serious side effects of HCG can include, but are not limited to: headache; feeling restless or irritable; mild swelling or water weight gain; depression; breast tenderness and swelling; and or injection site inflammation and pain.
This article is meant for HCG Diet, information purposes only. It is not meant for diagnosis or treatment purposes. If you experience the above mentioned side effects while using HCG, or anything else that just does not “feel right” while using HCG please consult a licensed health care provider in your area immediately. If you do not know a licensed provider, there is a directory of HCG providers available on this site.
Read more articles on the side effects of HCG and the HCG Diet:
First, it is important to understand the purpose of HCG and understand its effects on the human body. HCG is a naturally occurring hormone produced in the placenta of women during pregnancy and produced synthetically for the use of fertility treatments and other medical purposes. It is important in triggering hormonal changes in women during pregnancy, embryo development and it can increase the production of natural male and female steroids (sex hormones).
The hCG used for hCG weight loss injections, drops, and creams is indeed natural, but it is also created in a laboratory through sterile cells. If you have heard that hCG is derived from pregnant women’s urine or animal urine, rest assured, it comes from a petri dish.
Positive Side Effects of HCG Hormone
- In recent years, hCG has actually proven to reduce the risks of breast cancer: Fox News Report on hCG reducing chances of breast cancer
- hCG has proven to have far lower risks than the obesity it is used to treat.
- Increased self confidence after hCG assisted weight loss.
- Many people have experienced the following improvements to their health while on the hCG diet: migraines subside, blood sugars stabilize, increased energy, and of course increased metabolism.
HCG Diet Shots side effects when combined with Other medications
Taking hCG while using other medications? Always discuss this with your hCG medical specialist but educate yourself too. There are a number of free drug interaction tools on the web now:
A personal experience with hCG side effects
“I didn’t feel much different than usual. I had a very mild lower backache for the first few days, which my Dr. attributed to the hormone shift. I wasn’t worried because I get this just before my period too.
Interestingly enough, I did not have migraines, which I had been having periodically for the previous year; my Dr. had attributed these to my weight gain after my daughter was born and my blood pressure was very high. Which, incidentally, was the reason he suggested the hCG diet. My biggest side effect was, believe it or not, was the loss of sex drive. Completely unexpected. I had never had an issue in this area but my Dr. sent me on my way with “Viagra for women” and that took care of it. I have now lost over 40 lbs in well under 2 months. I will be starting my final cycle of hCG (and my Viagra for women! lol) next week and hope to reach my goal weight in the next month.” Read the article:
Although hCG is a natural substance produced by the human body there are potential negative side effects of the hormone when it’s taken for weight loss purposes. Many of the side effects are similar to those that arise with any type of VLCD Low 500 calorie diet or cleanse. These typical detox reactions include headache, restlessness, irritability, lethargy, water weight gain and depression. These side effects are minor and usually pass within the first few days. Other potential side effects related to the injections include inflammation at the injection site. Although it’s rare, there is also concern about the possibility of hair loss.
As a general rule the mild side effects can be easily managed with the tips provided below. More serious side effects should be discussed with your physician or licensed provider before beginning treatment. This hCG Diet Info Blog post is intended for information purposes only. It is not meant for diagnosis or treatment purposes. If you experience the above mentioned side effects while using hCG, or have any concerns while using hCG please consult a licensed health care provider in your area immediately. If you have not located a licensed provider, you may want to consider purchasing an Hcg shot kit and program online, through telemedicine.
Detox Symptoms Can Be a Cleansing Reaction
You may want to think of the headache as your body detoxing from all of the processed foods, sugar, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, alcohol and other toxins that have been accumulating in your body from the poor dietary habits associated with the Standard American Diet (SAD). You may also experience fatigue, extreme hunger and food cravings, irritability, bloating, gas, muscle soreness and nausea. These side effects are common with any low calorie diet or cleanse. They are short-term and will usually pass within the first few days of the diet.
Tips to Prevent and Manage Side Effects
There are a few things you can do to avoid, reduce or ease the pains of the carb withdrawals, detox symptoms and cleansing reactions.
- Indulge in Fats During the 2-Day Load (Phase 1)
There are many claims that the detox symptoms can be limited or even prevented by eating a diet high in fat during the two load days at the beginning of the diet. Most of us indulge in carbs on a daily basis and will therefore experience withdrawals when heavy carbs are eliminated from the diet. By indulging on fats vs. carbohydrates during the two load days you can ease your way into the diet and experience fewer detox symptoms. This will also begin to train your body to switch from carb burning mode to fat burning mode. There are some dieters who claim that the more so called ‘bad carbs’ you have in your system and eat prior to beginning the 500 calorie diet, the more severe the headache.
Taking an L-Glutamine supplement can help to reduce carbohydrate cravings.
The most common cause of a headache is dehydration. Drinking water will not only help to relieve any headaches it will also aid your body in the cleansing process. Toxins are stored in fat cells. As the hCG causes your body to begin burning those fat cells the stored toxins are released into your bloodstream thus causing headaches and other detox symptoms. Think of the water you’re drinking as a cleanse for the inside of your body, washing the toxins away. Try to drink half of your body weight in ounces each day. For example if you weigh 160 lbs you would want to drink 80 ounces of water per day. And don’t worry about water weight! The primary cause of water retention is actually dehydration from not drinking enough water.
If the headache persists you may take your usual headache solution such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Don’t be disappointed by the headache, this can be a sign that the diet is working and that toxins are being released into your blood stream while your body burns fat cells. Just remember that burning fat is the primary purpose of your diet.
- Adjusting Your Dosage of hCG
If you experience extreme hunger on the diet or just feel lousy you may need to adjust your dose of hCG. To make dose adjustments consult with your physician or check out the post